Real Madrid CF won Europe's top club competition for the seventh time at the Amsterdam ArenA, with the UEFA Champions League final being settled by Predrag Mijatović's second-half strike against Juventus.
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Juventus 0-1 Real Madrid CF
Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
Most clubs would be happy with one European Champion Clubs' Cup. But not Real Madrid CF. Six times winners of the competition, the last in 1966, the Merengues had been frustrated in their quest for a seventh. That all changed in 1997/98, however, to the delight of traditionalists everywhere.
Not because of any atavistic allegiance to the Merengues, but because Madrid were true champions in a season when entry to the UEFA Champions League extended to the runners-up of the top eight European leagues. This was part of the latest expansion of the tournament, with two qualifying rounds filtering 16 from 48 clubs into six groups of four. It was at this stage that the top eight seeds joined the party.
Yet only one of the 'lucky losers' emerged from the group phase to reach the quarter-finals: Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Their run ended, not surprisingly, in Madrid. Too good for Rosenborg BK, Olympiakos Piraeus FC and FC Porto in Group D, Jupp Heynckes's men carried that form past Leverkusen and into the semi-final with BV Borussia Dortmund. Fact is, the holders carried less of a threat than the home fans at the Santiago Bernabéu, who delayed the first leg by 45 minutes after bringing down fencing behind one of the goals.
When the game eventually started, Fernando Morientes and Christian Karembeu gave the Spanish side a 2-0 success which prefaced a 0-0 draw in Dortmund. The other semi-final matched Juventus FC with AS Monaco FC - respective conquerors of FC Dynamo Kyiv and Manchester United FC - yet it was no contest. The Italian side booked their ticket to Amsterdam with a 6-4 aggregate win. Goals were harder to come by in the final, however, with Predrag Mijatović's second-half strike for Madrid proving decisive. Cue 'La Séptima'.